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Full text of "Thunor the Thunderer, carved on a Scandinavian font of about the year 1000"

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c* c 











H. H. J. LYNGE; 












H. H. J. LYNGE; 



Printed bv tt. n Thiele. 




Rector of Rannum in Westgotland, Sweden, 

Varpser barn til kirkiu boret oc 
bebiz cristnu. pa seal fabir ok mo5er 
la guftfsebur oc gudmodor oc salt oc 
uatn. |>a't seal b;vv;v til kirkiu |»a seal 
a prcst kalla> ban seal a kirkiu bole 
boa?, barn seal brymsignse firi utan 
kirkiu. dyr. Sipen seal font wigyse. 
prestcr barn dopse. oc gudfapir a haldse. 
gudmoper til namns sygiae. prester seal 
byu|>c husu [=huru| lengi t'a|>ir oc mo|>er 
sculu vardvetse. Haendir baet sot a vegh 
oc ma igh til kyrkiu coma, ba seal gud- 
fapir dopae oc gudmoper a haldse. i 
vatn. a3n vatn. sev ti! i namn fapurs 
oc suner oc andses helagha. 

/.< a child to church borne and wsketh 
Christendom, then shall father and mother 
get godfather and godmother and soli and 
water. One shall bear it to church, and 
call for the priest. He shall at the church 
house dwell. The barn shall be cross- 
signed outside the church- door. 'I hen 
shall the Font be hallowed. The priest 
shall baptise the child, the godfather 
hold it. the godmother my out the name. 
The priest shall sag how long the 
father and mother must take care of 
it. Should it fall side on the way and 
cannot come i,, church, the godfather shall 
baptise it and the godmother hold it, in 
water if water be there, in the name of 
the Father and the Son and the ffo/u 

Schlyter. Codex Juris Vestrogotim. Stockholm 1827, Mo. Earliest Church-balk. Sec. 
I, p. 3. (Dale about 1200—1250. Dale of Ms. close of the 13th century). 

A krist skulu allir kristnir trose 
at han a?r gub. ok eei seru gubaer Here. 
aen han sen. sengin skal affgubum 
blotse. ok sengin a lundi fellr stense 
trose. allir skulu kirkiu dyrkse. bit 
skulu allir babi quikir ok dobir. 
komeendi ok farendi. i. wernld ok aff. 

(Jn Christ shall all Christians trow 
that He is God, and not are gods other 
than He alone. None shall to idols 
offer, and none shall on groves or stones 
believe. All shall Church honor. Thither 
shall all, both quick and dead, coming 
and faring (hence-going), into this world 
and out of it. 

Schlyter. Codex Juris Lplandici. Stockholm 1834, 4to. Church-balk, Sec. 1. p. 11. 
(Publish* under Birr/er Jarl, about 1296. Dale of Ms. about 1300). 


Pictures are poor men's books (John I) am a seen us). 

Jirethren and Sisters in the Faith, Friends and Neighbors from far 
aud near, whether happily already followers of the White Christ or cleaving 
yet to the Gods of our forefathers, and specially ye, now here present, who 
ask me by Holy Baptism to receive this child into the Ark of the Church, 
listen a short stund while I first expound the figures I have let carve on this 
Laver of Regeneration! 

The cunning stone-smith hath obeyed my wish, and hath given us on 
this Doop-stone a short outline of what ye, and this infant thro you, should 
know, to guide him onward in his path of Christian duty. 

Many words I need not; for much that is good and true is common 
to all the children of men in every time and land, not least in this time and 
this land, whether still holding fast pagan lore, shadows and symbols of things 
divine now misinterpreted and misunderstood, or already members of the mys- 
tical bodv of Our Lord. Man was made in the image of God. and all the 
glory is not yet departed from his brow. 

All, then, bow we before a common Allfather, all thank we Him for 
His endless goodness, all hope we happiness hereafter thro His infinite love to 
His children. But all, alack all of us, also know that Guile and War entered 
Walhall, that this is now a world of Sin and Sorrow and Death. The peace 
and innocence of Ida's fields, of Eden and its Paradise, have long since fled 
away. The canker of Self hath toucht everything. The brother's hand is 
raised against the brother. The crafty Serpent triumpht. Our fore-elders fell. 
They stood not in the day of trial. The forbidden fruit was eaten. 



And here, lo. we sec the Worm with the Apple in his mouth. Ask 
and Embla, Adam and Eve, or bow else th<> first happy pair may be hight in 
the folk-talks of the world, lost the Garden, were driven from the Tree of 
Life. Thorns and thistles grew up unto them, and in the sweat of their brow 
shall the? gain a bit of bread. 

For this great Fall the gentile world no sure help knoweth. Stocks 
and stones, idle tales, dim sayings, Elves and offerings, bloody rites and cruel 
overtrow, well-meant but childish house-lore unworthy of bold bearded men 
and of fair honorable women, hateful feuds, fierce selftortures, temple juggleries, 
songs of priests about Gods who fight and fall — these and suchlike cannot 



aid us. No heathendom could ever yet heal the soul wounded by sin, the 
heart broken by sorrow. 

Here then we all stand together. The facts of life are round about 
us, are in our own bosom. Mask it as we will, call it as we choose, we are 
full of fear and feebleness, long for an outgang from this cave of darkness. 



XT I i ■ 

we reach after a brighter day, waiting the whisper of God whose music won- 
derful shall tell us of something higher, better, heavenly! 

And blessed be God. He left not His fallen children. He gave the 
Word and the Word was made flesh: I will put enmity between thee and the 
woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head, and thou 



shalt bruise his heel. Hence was the Son of God, the Lord Christ, born of 
a \ irgin; hence gave He Himself for us, and bought us back the Golden Land 
and Life Everlasting. wondrous grace and glory! The Son ot the Almighty 
Father is our Captain and our Brother. His Cross is our Banner! 

See! the Bodesmen of His kingdom, each Priest of His Church, every 
Christian man and woman, hath He bidden: go into all the world, and with 
mouth and life preach the gospel to every creature. Eke said He — the 
letters even now are flowing and rippling and sparkling from out the Gospel- 
book, as the Holy Mark hath uttered them: 


He that believeth, old or young. If old. so much the greater need, 
ere the last shadows fall, to hasten to our heavenly Jordan. If young, He 
waiteth who said : suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, 
for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Soothly, therefore flock we, worn and 
weary, to the arms of our Healer. Therefore spreadeth the kingdom from 
heart to heart, from landscape to landscape: therefore am even I come hither, 
I Kick to the shining home of my forefathers, to preach the Glad Tidings. And 
thus groweth the grain of mustard into a tree that shall overshadow all the 
nations, therefore standeth Holy Church on high, and the gates of Hell shall 
not prevail against it. 

Haste we then glad to take the yoke of Jesus, for it is light. Him 
to serve is to be truly free. Richly giveth He of the treasures of His grace. 
Death is the wages of unrighteousness, but with Him is joy for evermore. 
Bondmen and free, prince and people, we are all one in Him. The waters 
of Baptism cleanse from sin, and make us heirs of the kingdom, if only we 
hold fast by the Holy Covenant. Take we then the White Weeds with joy, 
even tho with trembling! 

Yet forget not. Brethren dear, that this Sacrament is only the be- 
ginning of our Christian life. We must go on iu the way of truth, step by 
step, from mystery to mystery. The Holy Font must be followed by laying 
on of hands in Confirmation by the Bishop, and this must be upheld by the 
Holy Supper, the Body and the Blood of Christ, spiritually eaten and drunken. 
And as the Priest baptizeth, so doth the Bishop confirm. He is here 
before us, seated on his chair, and with uplift fingers to bless the young sol- 
diers of the Church. In his other hand holdeth he The Book, the wondrous 
Word of Life. When then this child hath reacht years of discretion, forget 
not to bring him to your Bishop to renew the solemn promise and vow made 
in his name by helpsome Godfathers and Godmothers. On the threshold of 




manhood let him once more openly renounce the Devil and all liis works, and 
gird himself to tight in the battle of life against all things sinful and shame- 
ful, under his Captain Christ. 

Thus confirmed, we must daily grow in all the gifts <>f grace, in wis- 
dom and understanding, in counsel and ghostly strength, in holiness and low- 

liness, in all true godliness, going onward and upward from height to height, no 
longer babes in Christ. Putting away all gods made or fancied by our fore- 
elders or ourselves, yet more abhorring to make ourselves god, our own might 
or wisdom our sufficient helper, we must hold fast our faith in One God, the 
Almighty, the All-merciful, but in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. 




We must reach as it were unto the courts of our king's palace, our eyes 
bathed in the streams of light flowing from the cloud-hidden Sanctuary. 

Listen we to the honied words falling from the lips of Saint John, 
the Celestial Doctor: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was 
with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. 



All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that 
was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 

Behold this lofty witness here before you on this Holy Basin, Cross 
in hand, above the Rainbow, the arch of heaven. Be fulfilled with his teaching, 
so often redd out to you in your own tung when we meet for worship. And 



forget never his deathless precept; that sentence summing up all knowledge, 
all the Law and all the Gospel; that heart-lore which shall dry the tear from 
the lid of the helpless and break away the iron fetter from the neck of war- 
slave or house-theow, our brother tho a thrall: that snatch of heaven- song 
which rang so merrily when the silly shepherds heard the L r <><«l tidings of great 
joy to all people, while the air was fragrant with Glory to God in the highest, 
and on earth peace, good will towards men; that dread command that with 
levin-glitter lighteneth from the east to the west; that still small voice that 
whispereth in our dreams and in our day-dreams: 


So shall Walhall be given back to us, Kden be our own once more, 
that blessed Garden offer us its Bowers and fruits and sunshine, its day with- 
out night, its joy unmarred by grief, its life without death. 

It is here before you. The stone-smith hath fashion'd it to my mind. 
There standeth the Gate of Paradise, within whose walls ye shall one day 
enter. The Tree of Life is there, yours for ever. It towereth high above the 
portal, tempting you to to come in. And outside are the four rivers of the 
New Jerusalem, the bright flood flowing thence and branching into four, even 
Pison and Gihon and Tigris and Euphrates. These and yet not these. For 
all things seen are shadows of the unseen. These four onward-sweeping wave- 
flows, what are they other than the four Evangelists of Christ? Soothly, they 
are Matthew and Mark, Luke and John, who receive from Christ and give all 
nations to drink that Living Water which refresheth the thirsty sons of men 
and putteth death far from them. Soothly the well-spring of these waters, 
the real source whence they all issue, is the Lord Christ, the Lamb of God, 
whose light is the starry orb of the Golden City, whose glory dwelleth within 
her, so that Sun nor Moon can be needed there. 

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 
Our first parents broke God's law. 

Fearfully fell they, 
and fell was their penance; 
guilt after, gain'd they 
but God's dread wrath and 
bale-sorrow blasting; 
their bairns, time thro, 
with tears deep atoning 
their taste of yon apple — 

the Lord's word un- listed. 

Their land should they therefore, 

the shining and sweet-deckt, 

sadly abandon 

thro grudge of the hell- adder, 

grim when be-guil'd he 

elders our 

in those first yore-days 



thro false-minded framings; 
that far thence those wand'rers 
in death's outer dale-home 
a dwelling mote seek them, 
seats all sorrowful. 
Soothly was given them 

life with gloom louring, 

(their lea ever holy, 

fiends thro false-tung'd, 

lastly y -barred 

winters full many) 

till, the worthy, the worshipful 

mankind's great mirth -spring, 
the mood-weary's cheerer 
earth and heaven's only hope 

by hitherward coming 

to save each dear saint-child, 

open struck it once more! 



Hut trow not that this can be, wlii]<- re onlj look on. Faith with- 
our works is dead. Ye must, fight as good kemps againsl the World, the 
Flesh and the Devil. Kvil men and evil powers are round about us. In this 
land few, as yet, even name the name of Christ. Ye walk as it were with 
your life in your hands, for often must we seal our helief with a baptism of 
blood. All kinds of wickedness and cruelty, savage inroads, burnings of home- 

— '"'? * ■ : r™ ? C^gf^'- ~ \ - ^j ' -■ ' 

steads and of the poor folk therein, with theft of children for sale in pagan 
markets, are rife around us, and tempt to quick gain by quick means. But 
all these things are the drivings of demons, the fristings of fiends, the glamour 
of ghost-trolls. Against all such stand ye fast. Take the whole armor of God, 
your loins girded with truth, having on the breastplate of righteousness, your 
feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, and wielding fearlessly 


the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the sword of the spirit. Sleep 
not. Be constant in heart. On. Cross-men, on! Let each one he a 
Christian Thur! 

For as ye have the White Baldor, the wise and mighty (W)Odin's 
son. an aftergleam and image of the White Christ, the spotless son of the 
only one God, the Lord of Law and Right, — so talk ye also of the doughty 
Thu(no)r. the Asa-Thu(no)r. the aftergleam and image of Christ the Conqueror, 
Christ who smiteth Satan, who standeth alway against all evil things, and 
hunteth down to Hell the foul flocks warring against him. As each good glaive 
and valiant helt among our fore- elders hath gladly battled on the side of one- 
eyed (W)Oden and of his son the stalwart Thu(no)r, so let each good 
swordsman among us struggle strongly for Allfather and for Christ. 

Your Thur is here. Look! in his forehead are still bedded 
shivers of the flintmace hurled against him by the skyhigh llrugner. Still his 
red Beard frighteth the Monsters afar. Still his Megingjarder. his Belt of 
Strength, girdeth him round about. With his iron-gripe, his hand-shoe, his 
adamantine Glove, still graspeth he his Mjolner, the famous Dwarf-smithied 
short- hafted Hammer, flinging it with unerring aim at Ettins and Goblins, while 
ever it runneth back to his fingers again. Still handleth he the Steer-oar with 
which he helpt so wondrously in the giant Hrymer's boat, when he dasht his 
death-mall against the Midgarth Worm, the World-snake, whom we see in small 
under his right arm. And strange creatures, his foes and victims aye, from 
wild and wold and wood and cliff and crag and car, are near him above his 

Children, whenever ye see your Thur, resolve to be no less daring 
and dauntless against foul wight and false wanderer and fierce waylayer than 
he. Ye fight hence-forth under a nobler chieftain, a deathless captain, Christ. 
Thu(no)r, so ye siug and say. in the last dread doomsday shock, the weird of 
the world and its gods, shall mightily massacre the brood of the Giantess, yon 
infernal Midgarth- dragon, but himself falleth, poisoned by the streams of burn- 
ing etter he had spewed out over him. Our leader, the fair Folk-Frea, Christ 
the Comforter, shall cast the Dragon-devil into the lake of fire and brimstone 
along with Death and Hell, and shall rule triumphant, King and Kaiser, in the 
Holy City of the New Heaven and the New Earth! 

Only so will Christ acknowledge you as His. Only so can ye be His 
mystical members, true branches grafted into Him the true Vine. Idle, help- 
less, timeserving, cowardly, selfish, mere slaves of softness and sloth, ye are 
cut off from Him the Holy Tree. Steadfast for Him, living and dying for 



Him, battling for Him by word and deed and a pure daily ensample, ye shall, 
as limbs, have part in the sap and life running alway thro the Vine of Heaven. 
I am the True Vine, saith the high and holy one; my Father is the husband- 
man. The branch cannot bear fruit except it abide in the Vine. Bear ye 
abundantly blossoms of righteousness thro Him the Righteous. 

g^^r^gg-'''" ' -■yrZ.^g^zs. 

Here is the Vine on this granite Font- book. The cunning artificer 
hath pourtrayed it well, leaf, tendril, cluster, the rich grape-group, whose wine's 
savor is Life Everlasting. Remember we this alway, resisting the Devil that 
he may flee from us! Make we the Prince of Peace our pattern, and so be 
knitted to Him the True Vine for ever! Then are we one with Christ and He 
with us, thro Love. Love is stronger than death, overcometh all things. Faith, 
Hope, Love; but the greatest of these is Love. What shall separate us from 



the love of Christ, what break us away from the Heavenly Vine? I trow, 
nothing in Heaven or Earth or Hell, neither principalities nor powers. For 
He is faithful and just to keep His word to us. Cleave we unto Him, lose 
we never His almighty help, legions of His Angels keeping watch and ward 
round about us. To Him be wuldor. ore, herying and lordship, — glory, honor, 
praise and dominion, — for ever and for aye! So be it! 

But all this is in and thro and by Christ, Christ the Crucified, as I 
have taught ye so oft, repeating the Holy Creed of the Apostles, which we 
will hold fast till our life's end. Christ is greater than a thousand Thu(no)rs. 
He shall mightily succor His people. He shall uphold and comfort them in 
life and in death, giving them at last a house not made with hands, eternal 



in the heavens. This Christ, our youthful champion, who died that lie might 
kill Death and that we might live, hangs in effigj there on the Rood-tree. 

That Cross of offence, that accursed trunk, that gallows of shame 
and sorrow, hath become the thrice-happy Rood-token, the bright Beacon, 
the Christian's battle-banner, the sign of Blessing to all mid-earth. See! 
Itself the fount of life all worlds round, it buds and I. looms and breaks forth 
about Him into the Stem of Life, even the Tree of Paradise lost by Adam, 
with fruit celestial and undying foliage. As Adam died, SO Christ maketh 
alive. The king of kings and lord of lords is He. Blessed be His nam"! 

Tire not to tellen 
of the Tree of (dory, 
where the Prince of Peace 
tholed (suffered, underwent) His Passion 
for the sins many 
of Man's children, 
the olden misdeeds 
of father Adam. 

Death He there tasted: 
but the Dreeten (Lord) thence breaking, 
with His mickle might . 
for the help of man, 
to Heaven ascended. 
Here will He eft eke 
in this our mid-earth 
mankind visit 
on the Day of Doom, 
He the Dread- One, 
God Almighty, 
and His Angels with Him. 
Who bath power of judgment — 
so will judge them, 
each and every, 
as erewhile here 
in this miserable life 
their deeds merited. 

Pale need no one, 
at the words which then 
the Waldend (Ruler, Lord) speaketh. 
Fore that crowd speireth (asketh) He 
whether creature be any 
who for God's name's sake 
will give himself up 
to torment and death, 
as on the Tree lie did. 
Pear then af-frayeth, 
and few bethink them 
what to the Saviour 
they mo say or answer. 
Yet pale need no one, 
in breast who e'er beareth 
this blessedest token. 
Thro the Cross each Christian 
may reach the Kingdom; 
soar may each soul 
from earth skyward, 
if to wun with the Waldend 
she willeth rightly. 



So sang my gifted landsman, the heaven - taught shepherd - songster, 
England's glory, this Northland's child, Csedmon of the Angles in broad North- 
umberland. His verses never leave me. Let them abide with you also. 

And now, little children, the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with 
you alway ! 

1 ought to apologize to my reader for beginning with this unexpected 
little Homily, to some perhaps a mere rhapsody. But the facts are before us. 
The carvings of the Baptismal Vessel cannot be explained away. Such a Cate- 
chism-Font 1 ), undeniably bearing in one of its compartments the figure of a chief 
Scando-Gothic God, is unique 2 ), must have a meaning, and demands exposition. This 
can only be done by using the oldest Christian symbolisation, and by reference 
to the time and place when the Font was made. I may not everywhere have 
entirely succeeded in every detail. But 1 think that, on the whole, the signi- 
fication must be nearly as I have suggested. Perhaps others may find some 
better clue. Every olden relic, however, must be interpreted in an atmosphere, 
a light, of its own. This is the case with mere heathen remains, and not less 
so with Christian. In fact I did not know how easier and better to interpret 
the long roll of symbol-figures here carved on the graystone, than to place the 
whole by itself first of all, as a continuous little address by the simple Priest 
standing before the Dip-stone. 

Something like the words to the engravings may then well have been 
the language often used by the English missionary- priest or his Scandinavia- 
born disciple, now himself a teacher of his countrymen, when evangelizing the 
Gothic clans in this part of Sweden, the cradle of Christianity in that land. 
Effort after effort would be made, every fitting opportunity used, to teach the 
people; not least by expounding the things used in the little church. All early 

*) This expression is here taken in its primitive meaning of oral instruction in the elements of 
the Christian faith. It gradually obtained other significations. Its present use, in the sense 
of a short written or printed outline or explanation, is quite modern, in a happy moment 
introduced by the great Reformer Martin Luther. 

*) A couple of small Bronze statues of taranis, the Gallic Hammer-bearing Thunder-god, 
answering to the Scando-Gothic tbtjnor, have been found in France. 


Christian art was a hornbook and more <>r less symbolical, helping to gather folk 
into the fold. Especially at Baptism would kinsfolk and Strangers, some of them 
maybe not yet converted, be present, as well as the small households of 

Hence in old Christian lauds, especially in our North, is the Dip- 
stone often so exceptionally decorated. In spite of the vandalisms of centuries, 
no part of Europe has even yet so many costly Fonts - usually of simple 
granite or wood and of rough or even « barbarous" execution as Scandinavia. 

England's very early « civilisation » and o'high farming" has destroyed almost 
all our very oldest Fonts. The time will come when these precious Scandi- 
navian relics will be collected and publisht 1 ). Many of them bear Runic In- 
scriptions, while as yet we have only found two bearing runes in England. 
Some have words or sentences in Roman characters. Most of those in Scan- 
dinavia down to about the 14th century and in England down to about the 
11th, are in various ways remarkable. I myself have seen great numbers, in 
the original or in drawings; but never, in any part of Europe, one so remarkable 
as this from Ottrava. 

For the Holy Stone here before us belonged to the old C bun di at 
otthava in the diocese of Skara, West Gotland, Sweden. But the old un- 
barbarized name, down to 1397, was otervad, Otter Wade, the Ford of the Otter. 
This Church was taken down in 1813, and its sandstone materials were used 
in building the large new Church at Dimbo, which is now the temple for the 
whole rectory. The Rev. M. Florell took care of the old Font, which lay 
neglected in Ottrava church-yard, and had it removed to Dimbo. Here it was 
examined by the Rev. Claes Johan Ljungstr5m in 1875, and that active archaeo- 
logist sent me in Dec. 1875 a full-size tracing of the figures. I explained them 
to him, and in October 1877 he publisht a short account of the Doop-stone, 
with a very small engraving of the compartments. See his valuable work: 
"Wartofta Hiirad och Staden Falkoping», Lund 1877, 4to p. 159 — 161. 

This precious Baptismal Basin is of granite, about 2 feet high, 2 
feet 8 inches in diameter, and 5 inches thick. The base has not been found. 

x ) Of course a good many have appeared from time to time in Scandinavia, scattered thro all 
sorts of publications and often far from correctly engraved, or only a part of the sculpturing 
given. What we want is a carefully drawn systematic series of all having any interest, and 
enumerations — with specimens — of the rest. A good instalment has this moment reacht 
me, 13 of the oldest Fonts in Bohuslan, Sweden, ( « Bohuslanska Dopfuntam, from drawings 
by G. Brusewitz, with text by Dr. 0. Montelius, pp. 425 — 446 of «Goteborgs och Bohuslans 
Fornminnen och Historian. 1876, 1877 — 8vo. Stockholm 1877). 



By analogy with other such, it probably bore a Runic Inscription — at least 
the name of the stone-smith. The date is about the year 1000, or very early 
in the 11th century. It is now preserved in the National Museum. Stockholm, 
to which it came by purchase. 

Anxious to obtain materials entirely trustworthy, I was fortunate enough 
to gain the assistance of a distinguisht Swedish antiquarian artist, with many 
years' experience in this kind of work, Heir Olof Erlandsson of Skara in West 
Gotland. In the summer of 187(i he spent some time for me at Dimbo, and 
made the careful and beautiful drawings which are here given, engraved on 
wood by Herr I. F. Rosenstand of Cheapinghaven. 

That we may form a good idea of its general appearance, I here add 
a view of the piece as it stands, with its figures cut in relief: 

I also give a profile of the Basin: 


Ami of the bottom of the Dipping stone, Been from above: 

1 Cartouche. The Fall. As the Worm, Dragon, Snake, &c. plays so 
great a part in Northern Art and Mythology, the artist has taken the shortest 
and simplest symbol, only the Serpent. Observe the Apple in its mouth. 

2 Cartouche. The Restoration. Holy Baptism. A Priest with Cross 
uplift. His left hand holds the Gospels. The carved verse is from S, Mark's 
Gospel, ch. 16, v. 16: 


Remark the slurring of the p. the rare old type for z and the small 
s, — in ba(p)tiz.\tvs. 

3 Cartouche. Confirmation. Bishop seated on his chair, right hand 
uplift to bless, left grasping the Holy Book. 

4 Cartouche. Heavenly Mysteries. Saint John the Celestial, above the 
Rainbow. Stands as a bust in profile, Cross in hand '). 

') The learned Danish Priest Karl J. Brandt kindly suggests that this field represents «the 
great prayer of the Church. »Our Father™, in the name of Christ the Crucified". This idea 
is worthy of attention. But I cannot accept it. uOur Father » must surely be comprehended 
in the Church's teaching under the first compartment. Baptism. And the sculpture itself for- 
bids it. We there do not see the Crucified ; there is no glory or any other emblem tokening 
Our Lord, still less Christ on the Cross. The figure is either that of a simple Priest - 


5 Cartouche. Paradise restored. We see the (wattle-built) wall or gate of 
the Garden, the Tree of Life within, and the outflowing 4 Rivers emblemizing the 
4 Evangelists. This last bold and touching type is the oldest of all for the 
Gospelers, and one of the earliest symbols known to the Christian Church. 
From the narrow space and to spare hard stone-work, the Rivers are treated 
conventionally and are not exactly four. 1 ) 

The stave-rime verses introduced are lines 811 — 844 of my line-for- 
line and metre-for-metre version of a charming Old-English poem of the 10th 
or 11th yearhundred. See pp. 32, 33 of «The King of Birds; or the Lay of 
the Phoenix », printed pp.256 — 322 of Archaelogia, Vol.30, London 1844, 4to. 

We must remember that all Scandinavia was chiefly converted by 
English missionaries, partly direct from England, partly indirect from their sta- 
tions in Germany. Frisland eVc, which they lookt upon as stepping-stones to further 
progress northward. Hence the crowd of manuscripts in Germany, written by 
Englishmen or copied by their disciples, containing Runic Alphabets for their 
use in Scandinavia, where alone — and in its colony England — Runes were 
ever heard of. The first considerable and successful Christian mission in Swe- 
den was in West Gotland, whither also came among other Angles the inde- 
fatigable and loving Saint Sigfrid, consecrated Bishop for that mission in York. 
After the selfsacrificing labors of half a century he died somewhere about 1030. 

6 Cartouche. Thu(no)r. In Scandinavia and part of England the 
older thunor and WODEN early gave way to the easier slurred forms thur (thor) 
and oden (odin). The former we still keep in our Thursday, while the latter 
has kept its w in our Wednesday, the days especially allotted to their worship. 
All the details here are quite plain. The well-known legends about Thu(no)r 
will be found in the Eddas and elsewhere. Striking is Thu(no)r's Beard. All 

■which cannot be, for we plainly have the Priest in the 2nd stall — or else it is an Evan- 
gelist. But the Rainbow belongs to St. John as the Heavenly Teacher, »the Eagle John 
who scanned the divine naturen. 
2 ) There is no doubt that the oldest emblem of the 4 Evangelists was the 4 Rivers of Paradise. 
This is earlier than the Tetramorph, the 4 Living Creatures in Ezekiel"s visions, or than 
these united in one figure, but afterwards simplified as the Apocalyptic Lion, Calf, Man and 
Eagle, which first commenced in the 5th century and were not separately attributed to separate 
Evangelists till long after. We find these 4 Rivers on some of the most antique works of 
Christian art, among others the famous Lateran Cross, a mosaic whose original dates from 
the time of Constantine. The 4 Books or Rolls also occur, as symbolizing the 4 Evan- 
gelists, on very early art-works. The 4 Rivers are often found united as one Jordan, in 
union with other signs connected with Baptism. 

Nor can I think that the figure o?ily or chiefly refers to the New Jerusalem in the 
Revelations of St. John. 


the other heads are beardless. Bui the DIP-STONE ie more than '.'Oil years OLDER 
than the oldest Codex of the oldest or Poetical Edda.') 

7 Cartouche. The Vine, the very oldest Christian symbol of Our Lord 
and His Church. 

8 Cartouche. Ihe Crucifixion. The \ ontlifulness of the figure and 
the feet separated, are proofs of great antiquity in the treatment, which is 
highly conventional, not even the nails being given. 

The stave-rime verses, line-for-line and metre-for-metre, are lines 
195 — 244 of the magnificent «The Holy Rood, a Dream ». written in Old-North- 
English by the sublime Poet Csedmon, perhaps about the middle of the 7th 
century, lie died about A. D. G80. The commencing lines of this lay, in Old-* 
North-English, are inscribed in runes on the Ruthvvell Cross in the extreme 
north of old Northumbria (now in south Scotland), whose date is about 680. 
But the whole poem is only extant in a South-English transcript of the 10th 
century. See engravings of the Cross, all 4 sides, the lay itself and my notes 
and version, in my « Old-Northern Runic Monuments of Scandinavia and Eng- 
land", Vol. 1, folio, London 18G7, pp. 405—448, — this section also pub- 
lisht separately as a pamphlet. — The biblical and traditionary subjects 
sculptured on this Ruthwell Cross are many and remarkable. Among them 
is The Vine 2 ). 

1 ) Pastor Brandt will also give to tin's compartment a reference to Penitence, hot and bettering. 
At all events he is right in thinking that the monsters may additionally symbolize in the 
olden Church the 7 Deadly Sins. 

2 ) Pastor Brandt is inclined to look upon the 7th and 8th fields as symbolizing the Lord's Sup- 
per, the True Vine as introductory thereto and the Body of Our Lord as a fruit on the 
Tree of Life. He thinks the Catechism will be then clearer. But this seems to me far too 
narrow. We expect the Sacrament of the Altar under Confirmation. 

The Vine was always chiefly the mystical union with Christ. The Cross became very 
early more than a simple Rood. Where it was not a short and rich sign of Christ Himself, 
it was a token for Eternal Life, Paradise Regained. This idea, which is perhaps much 
older, meets us as well known in the 5th century in the popular apocryphal tiospel of Nico- 
demus (or the Acts of Pilate). Part 2. Here the author speaks of Seth's visit to Paradise, 
to seek the Oil of Mercy wherewith to cure his dying lather Adam. But the Angel 
answered, that this Oil — in the shape of the Tree of Mercy, the Tree of Lite — should 
one day be given thro the God-man, and that Paradise should in this way be opened to 
Adam and his children. This conception soon rapidly spread, in many and various shapes, 
thro all the Christian world. It was well known to the great Englishman the Venerable 
Bede (672—735), whose writings were devoured by the Western Churches. It is found in 
Scandinavia in the old Swedish Legendarium (last half of 13th century); but older Scandi- 
navian works of a similar character have disappeared. Specially as regards the treatment 
of the Cross itself in Christian art, we have this emblem as far back as the 6th and 7th 
century on the Monza Oil-flasks, on the Cross in the Baptistery in St. Pontianus, and else- 
where, where it appears as a flowering tree, from whose stem spriug forth leaves and fruit. 



Iii order to understand the introduction of Thu(no)r on a Christian 
Font, we must realize tliat in this very early period in Scandinavia Heathendom 
ivas all around, living and strong and warlike. The congregations of the faith- 
ful were few and far between, ilands as it were in a sea of pagandom. The 
Church was only slowly making its way. The whole air was pagan, the lan- 
guage itself of a necessity largely pagan — full of words and phrases rooted 
in the olden national belief — like Greek in the time of Saint Paul. Many 
of these pagan technical expressions were naturally taken up bodily in the 
service of the Church, some have subsisted in England itself down to our own 
day. Then heathen names of things and festivals &e. were slightly altered or 
imitated or translated (the name of a Saint substituted for that of a God or 
Goddess and so on). This was the case in all the Scando-Gothic lands. It 
has been the case to some extent everywhere. Even Finland calls God, rightly 
and beautifully, Jumala. I have already pointed out that Csedmon, in his lines 
on the Ruthwell Cross, while singing — as only he could sing — the death 
of Christ on the Cross, actually describes the death of the Christ of his heathen 
forefathers, Baldor, slain and pierced by the Mistleto! 

We must also remember, (to appreciate the simple broad Bible-truths 
uttered by the good Priest and understood by his flock), that the early Anglo- 
Scandic Church had all the great pillars of the faith, as the Lord's Prayer, the 
Apostles' Creed, the Doxologies and such, recited in the service, in the 
vulgar tuxg 1 ). We have still such things — in spite of destruction endless 
— in England from the 9th century downwards, in Scandinavia from the 12th 
century downwards. Nay, many Old and Early English Homilies were in stave- 
rime verse, the grand national metre, the better to catch the ear of the com- 
mon people. 

') This is independent of Hymns, ifcc, and of Biblical books or Lections therefrom. Of the 
latter the oldest bits left in Norway-Iceland are from the close of the 12th century, in Swe- 
den from the 14th, in Denmark from the 15th. In England the oldest left- axe from the 9th 
and 10th, in Old-North-English and Old-South-English, besides the Psalms in 0. S. E. in both 
Prose and Verse. But all our Northern lands have lost much older. What (how many o mil- 
liards » ) would we not give for a copy of the Venerable Bede's translation (in 0. N. E.) of 
St. John's Gospel, whose last verse he penned just before he died? This great and good man 
fell asleep in 735. And as St. John is the 4th Gospel, Bede had probably already trans- 
lated the other 3. But nowhere is it said that this was the first version in England. The 
rubrics in the 0. E. Gospels distinctly point out what portions were to be redd in the 
Churches on particular days. The oldest existing Scando-Gothic Bible books are the Mfeso- 
Gothic, translated by Bishop Wulfila about A. I). 360. And these, tho considerable, are 
only fragments. 


There i.s therefore, as far as I can sec, aothing strange or unlikely 
m the words here hypothetically addrest by the West-Gotland Priest to liis 
Christian Bock. 


As we see, the great feature of this Font is the figure of Thu(no)r. 
This popular God has hitherto only been found, in the art-efforts of our fore- 
fathers, as it were in short-hand, in a general way or by some symbol. Far 
be it from me to enter upon the whole question of Thu(no)r and his worship, 

and the references to him in tradition and in the written prose and verse still 
left to us. But it cannot he amiss here to gather up some notices of the Art- 
works relating to him up to this time. They have of course been observed 
chiefly in the Scandinavian home-land, which was Christianized hundreds of 
years after its colony England. 

Taking these things as shortly and simply as we can, we will group 
them as follows: 


The first example') will he the heathen stone at 


This I have already made public in my « Old-Northern Runic Monu- 
ments of Scandinavia and England", folio, Vol. 2, p. 788 — 791, to which I 
refer for details. It is probably from the 9th century, and is 5 feet high by 
,". feet broad, and from 2 to 16 inches thick. The drawing was made by Kruse 
in 1856, but 3 letters are here corrected, from a fresh drawing by Prof. J. M. 
Petersen in 1869. First we have the body of the granite block: 

l ) At p. 741 of my Old-Northern Runic Monuments, Vol. 2, I have given an engraving of a 
large rock in Sweden (Lagnii, Aspo, Soderinanland). of which, by the kindness of Baron O. 
Hernielin, I have since obtained a very large and still more careful drawing. The central 
figure, carved on the rock with the runic risting, is a naked man with immense mustachioes. 
But as this shape has no beard, and no single attribute of any kind, and may be the bild 
of the deceast or a mere fantastic sketch, I omit it here. It was however doubtless cut 
in heathen times. 






In the center is the Head of Thu(nor), wil<l ati<l bearded. There is 
no manner of doubt that he is here introduced and invoked to l,less and pro- 
tect the deceast, and his tumulus, grave-stone and other funeral marks. 
The Skjern runes are large and plain: 
SO skikah; BISW stin, FTNULFS tutik, at UMNKAUR, usiwakna/i sun, TUBA, 


Whether we divide so skikuk, <>r soskikaI'K as one word, the meaning 
of the whole sentence will be the same. Then comes, here given separately, 
the top of the block: 

The meaning of the whole runic risting wdll be: 

KAVR USBIARNS SON, THE DEAR, EKE (and) ONE (a) DREETEN ( Lord, Htisband) FAST (true, 


sith (wander, be-outlaived, banned and rightless be) sa (that) man as (who) 
these CUMBELS (these grave-marks, how and stones) vp may-BRETE (may dare to break 
or desecrate)! 

We have a similar formula of curse against the despoiler of the tomb 
on the stones at Glimminge, Skane, Sweden; Glavendrup, Fyn, Denmark; and 
Tryggevselde, Sealand, Denmark; and it is explained by me in my Old-N. R. 
Mon. Vol. 2, p. 697 — 701. 

The second is the heathen runic monolith at 

engraved and described by me in my 0. N. R. Mon. 2, p. 749. I here repeat 
the woodcuts, but remark that Bruzelius (Saml. til Skanes Hist. Lund 1871, 
p. 148) has shown that the drawing I engraved (Sjoborg's) is not quite correct 



m the oriental parts However, we 1 bere tie WM Brf Face 

of Thu(no)r the Protector of the Deed: 

lllllMli; AND HIS KMIil.KMS. 


I 'In- inscription plainly reads: 



after (in memory of) brothers sine (his} with (his t"-<> brothers) vlai eke {and) vtar, 
landmen (Land-guards, Officers, or landholders, freeholders, yeomen) good. 


I add. as contrast, the remarkable stone raised in the first half of 
the 11th century at 


It was given by me in my 0. N. R. Mon. Vol. 2, p. 820, and afterwards 
by N. G. Bruzelius (Saml. till Skanes Hist. 8vo. Lund 1873, p. 3). It stood 
on a cenotaph, not a grave, for it expressly says that the deceast were lying 
entombed in London. 

We see that it bears a very common Cross-type, the Cross Patte, 
but on its upper limb rests a Beardless Head with mild features. This I look 
upon as overgang, a trasitional treatment on so early a block. The Head of 
Christ has taken the place of the Head of Thu(no)r, while the Hammer-mark 
of the Thunderer has given way to the Cross-mark of the Prince of Peace. 
It is a charming conventional treatment, Christ on the Cross in small '). 

The runes on the chief side say: 


say eke (and) tdbgvt cared (made) clmbels (grave-marks) these after mani eke suin. 
The continuation on the back is: 


But I also class here an amulet-type which meets us in the Later 
Iron Age. Dr. H. Hildebrand 2 ) and after him Dr. 0. Montelius 3 ) have en- 

1 ) As we all know, on the famous and colossal runestone at Jellinge in Jutland, Denmark, 
raised by Harald Blue-tooth to his father king Gorm tho Old in the 10th century, one side 
bears on a very large scale Christ on the cross. But the treatment is highly conventional. 
There is in fact no Cross, only ornamental winds and knots. But the meaning doubtless 
was, that the whole should represent the Crucifixion: only in the antique, rich and symboli- 
cal form, that the Cross is visibly blooming and changing into the Tree of Life, exactly as 
on the Ottrava Font. Now the Jellinge monument is much older than the Ottrava, and the 
treatment is proportionally more ■ barbaric » and Northern-national. 

2 ) Fdlhagen-fyndet (Ant. Tidskr. f. Sverige, 3, 101). 
s ) Sveriges Forntid (Atlas. 2, Nos. 595, 605, 606). 

i HUNOB \M> ins i:\nn i \i - . 


graved 3 of these pieces. All arc of silver, found in (Jutland, tdven full size, 
and arc here Heliotyped by Pacht. Twelve such were found at Folhagen. 

These pendants, probably for the neck, show the Head of a Man. 
conventionally treated with head-work &C, but all with what is meant for n Heard, 

The next class of these pieces is: 


Of this I have only one example, the heathen engraved rock at 
A 15 V, sOdermanland, swkden, 
given by me in my 0. N. K. Mon. 2, p. 670, G71, but without any drawing. 
It is only known to me by the woodcut in (ioransson's Bautil, No. 7GG, of 
which I here copy the central part, Heliotyped by Pacht. By his scale it was 
about 1G feet high and the runic band about 8 inches high. Accordingly the 
letters must have been very plain, and his drawing seems absolutely correct, 
save a mere woodcutter's error in the word fraubiurn, where by a false stroke 
the P has become K. It seems from the 10th century. Liljegren (No. 993) had no 
other authority than Bautil. Here we have, boldly cut, the Head of Thu(no)r 
the Protector, with miistachioes and peakt Beard, and below his Hammer. — 
For another example of the sioun for SEVEN, with the N still left, see the Sten- 
quista stone, farther on. , 



Correcting the k. as above said, the runes are: 


ashunt i .i.v\i//.v/i. eke i um mi n v let care (make, raise) these-grave-MARKS seven 

AT (to) HEIIBHRN, FATHER SIN (their). 

Often several standing stones, besides the rune-bearer, were raised 
to the dead, and sometimes the number is spoken of in the epigraph. Thus 
we have endlessly one. sometimes two or both, then seven and many and all. 
On one, the Ek stone. West-Gotland. Sweden, we have a stone-bridge and 
thirty marks! 

Pass we now to the Amulets or breast-ornaments already spoken of.' 
Some of these, like the Stone, have the Hammer as well as the Head. I first 
engrave one, of silver strongly gilt, found in 1877 in 


It is here given full size, Chemityped by Prof. Magnus Petersen from 
an Electrotype in the possession of Herr Steffensen, Conservator to the Danish 
Museum. The original is in the collection of Viscount Arvid Kurck, skane. 
It is doubly interesting as being a copy's copy of a piece which was founded 
on the Classical Thunor. jupiter ammon, so well known to the « barbarians » from 
the Alexander Coins, as well as in other ways '). As we now see it, the type 
is being degraded into the shape of a Bird. 

The second offers no such capricious variation. Head and Hammer 
are perfect. It comes from a rich find in 1875 at 


*) Just as taranis (the Gallic thctjor) has also been found bearing attributes of the Classical 
herccles. The influence of Classic Art and Mythology was very great, far and wide. 



It is here copied, full size, from an engraving (p. 504) illustrating an 
interesting paper by Dr. H. Hildebrand, in the Swedish «Mauadsblad» for July 
— August 1877. The Heliotype is by Paeht. It is of silver, parcel-gilt. The 
treasure to which it belonged was buried about the year 1000. 

For the loan of the next 2 blocks I have to thank Dr. H. Petersen. 
(See his work, p. 76, 78). The one represents a similar piece found at 



It is of silver, and is engraved in the Atlas 2 of Dr. Montelius, No. 628, 
a. The Head is still quite distinguishable, in spite of the conventional treatment 
Lastly I add one found in 1874 at 


This piece, of silver, is decorated with golden plates prest in and 
hangs in a golden ring. The eyes are of gold, inlaid, and on the forehead 
are inlaid 3 golden stripes, exactly as on the head of Thu(no)r on the Font. 
I take them, here also, to represent the fragments of the Giant's Flint-mace. 
At all events there can be no doubt that the figure was intended to represent 
a Human Head close on to Thu(no)r's Hammer. 

Then we have the simple symbol 

Beginning with Runic Stones, we come to that at 


For the loan of this Chemitype I am again indebted to Dr. H. Pe- 
tersen, who has publisht it in his valuable and original essay «0m Nordboernes 
Gudetro i Hedenold», 8vo. Kjobenhavn 1876, p. 52. The block is compara- 
tively modern, seemingly from the 11th century, for heathendom lingered long 
locally in Scandinavia. And it has many contractions, as is not uncommon, 
to spare cutting. When the church at Banning was raised, it was used as 
building material, and squared off as a slab in the southern chancel wall. But 
the whole inscription was spared, and by a happy accident we perhajts can restore 
the first word by its being repeated at the close. Thus se is either short for sen 
or it is SEN sounded and written SE, while RSm is RISM as often, and MOR 
shortened from moi>or. The H stands in the same way for hiau or hio &c. — 
The Hammer of Thu(no)r, invoking him to guard and bless, is undeniable. I 
read the staves: 

Till'Mii: \.\li HIS EMBLEM8. 



Vlhll, TOFE-SON RAISED. STONE THIS AFTER (in mimic of) i.i lll\ WTBER SIS (Ids). 
i ihii hewed (carved the rum's). 

The second is the heathen block at 




For this Chemitype also I have to thank the same active archaeologist, 
who gave it in his work, p. 53. A couple of the letters are now fallen away. 
Whether we translate trutnik by Queen, or by Sffistrm (Lady in whose employ he 
was), does not concern us here. Thu(no)r& Hammer of bcnison is twice re- 
peated on the stone. 




The third is the large heathen monolith at 


about 10 feet high. Heliotyped by Pacht IV R. Dyheck's Run-urkunder, 8vo. 

No. 34. But a splendid paper cast, for which I have to thank llr. Wester- 
berg of Eskilstuna, reacht me in 1868. This showed that Dybeck was not 
exactly correct in 2 letters, and these arc here put right. Thu(no)r» Protecting 

Hummer guards the tomb. The BI0UN, SEVEN, lias already appeared above. 



This fine monument would seem to be from the 10th year-hundred. 

The fourth is the runic block at 


But Dr. 0. Montelius has kindly informed me that he has not yet 
been able to procure a good drawing of this monument. He says that it is 
now lying in a ditch, and that its position prevents even a paper cast being 
taken. But he will endeavor, as .soon as possible, to pay a second visit to 
Grastorp and have the stone dug out and drawn. 

Passing on to the Coins, we have 2 pieces struck by the Danish kings 
of Northumbria. They have been pointed out by my learned friend and country- 
man the Rev. D. II. Ilaigh, in Archseologia /Eliana, 8vo. Vol. 7, 1866, p. 43, 
47, and are Nos. 2 and 3 in his Plate 6. I copy them here, adding Mr. 
Haigh's description: 

« 2. Similar type; legend, intended for sitric re, blundered. 
« Thor's hammer, between the billets ; legend intended for ingelgar MON. 
«3. lvdo sitrc; similar type, Thor's hammer introduced as an acces- 
sory ornament. 

«+eric moti; a cross with crescents and pellets iu alternate quarters". 


"There can be no doubt that this is the object intended by the device 
on two of the coins of Sihtric, and on the later types of the S. Peter money. 
Little hammers of this form seem to have been worn as amulets: there are 
three or four in the Old Northern Museum at Copenhagen, one attached to a 
ring, all intended to be so; and one was found [in England] with the Cuerdale 

coins The story which Simeon tells, of Onlaf « the hold ■>, swearing enmity 

to the clergy of the church of S. Cuthbert, by his gods «Thor and Othan», 
shows that he stood first in the estimation of the Danish rulers of Northum- 
berland. So this dynasty, the race of Ivar, whose seat of empire was alternately 
Dublin and York: who quitted Dublin when the Northumbrians invited them, 
and resumed their authority in Dublin when they were compelled to abandon 
Northumberland, are called, in verses quoted by the Four Masters, A. D. 942 
(944), mmtitir Thomalr, i. e. the «people» or «race» or ((descendants of Thomaim, 
and they cherished as their greatest treasure the «ring of Tomaim or Thor. This 
was doubtless the very same «holy ring» on which they swore to keep their treaty 

with yElfre.l. when they were in England in 876 This holy ring of Thor, 

therefore, was one of the instruments of his worship, and would be kept in the 
same way in all his temples, and so also in their own temple by the sons of 

ivar». — — ■ — «Thomair is the Irish form of Thorn. » Thunaer, Thor, 

Thomair, is exactly parallel to Anlaf, Olaf, Amlaib, and Inweer, Ivar, Iomaim 1 ). 

I quite agree with Mr. Haigh that the above coins have Thu(no)r's 
Hammer, but I think it is also something else. We must remember that several 
of these kings, tho originally heathens, ruled over both Christian and pagan 
subjects. Hence, in my opinion, they frequently used the old symbol which 
had spread from the far East and Egypt hundreds of years before Christ, the 
T, the Tau Cross, Saint Anthony's Cross, common to both Christians and 
Heathens, one of the very oldest and best-known Cross-types, whilst it was 
also so very near in shape to Thu(no)r's Hammer-mark. Hence it rapidly 
became merely decorative, when not a Cross exclusively Christian or merely 
neutral. On most of these early Northumbrian coins, and always on those of 
king Alfred. I look upon this Tau- Cross as a Christian symbol, otherwise as 

With regard to the Thu(no)r Hammer-Amulets, of which Mr. Haigh 
has spoken, about 50 specimens are in the great Scandinavian Museums alone, 

1 ) Further remarks on these Oath-Rings and on Thu(no)r's Hammer will be found in C. A. 
Holmboe, Mjiilnir og Vadjira, Christiania 1862, 8vo., and his Om Eeds-Ringe, Christiania 
1863, 8vo ; in H. Petersen, Om Nordb. Guded. ; and in my Old-N. R. Mon. 2, p. 976, and Vol. 
3, Bracteates, No. 75. 


besides those in Iceland ami in private Collections. Sec hereon the treatises by 
Dr. II. Hildebfand, with illustrations, in Manadsbladet, Stockholm, 8vo. 1872, 
p. 49 — 55; 1875, p. 33; and 1877, p 501. Most of these pieces are only 
the Hammer. Dr. II. Petersen has kindly lent me a block of such a Pendant, 
lliiiuincr k/ou,'. See his work p, 75; Dr. 0. Moiitelius, Atlas 2, No. 624. It is 
of silver, from 


Many others (Hammer alone) are given by Montelius, Hildebrand &c. 
But I need not repeat them. They are all of the same type, but endlessly 
vary in size and details. Most of them are of silver; some of simple metal. 
Here and there, especially in Skane, this heathen Hammer- type has only slowly 
past over to the usual shape of a Christian Cross, with ihs or AGNDS DEI, (&c.) 
or the figure of Christ cut or mounted upon it. But they disappear more and more. 
They are no longer in the taste of the peasantry, who are everj where selling; 
their old silver ornaments for modern gewgaws. 

A fourth distinct attribute is 


Of this Mr. Ilaigh thus speaks (1. c. p. 48): "These facts sufficiently 
explain the presence of Thor's chief symbol, the hammer, on the coins of 
Sihtric, and on those which, although they bear the name of S. Peter, were 
doubtless coined under Danish influence after his death [in 927]; and they 
suggest the explanation of another type, that of the coins of Uagnolt [the 
brother of Sihtric, died probably in 925]: 

«2. The glove, aho a symbol of Thor. His iron gloves, also the gift 
of the Dwarfs, are often mentioned in the mythology of the North. He handled 
them whenever he grasped his lightning-flashing hammer ■ 



On his plate 5 Haigh gives many variations of this emblem; obverse, 
racnolt, &c. and a Hand or Glove; reverse, a barbarization of eborace (York) 
and the monogram for carolus (the Sword of Carl) <Vc. But as of the Tau- 
Cross, still more of the Glove. This has never yet been met with, as far as 
I know, as the sculptured attribute of Thu(no)r. I look upon it merely as a 
type convenient for both religions. The one would see therein the Mitten of 
their Thunderer ■) ; the other would recognize at once the common European 
Christian symbol of the Divine Hand, the Heavenly Majesty, the Holy Father. 

Nor is Mr. Haigh's No. 4, the Bow and Arrow, in my opinion, «the 
symbol of the hunting god; the archer, Uller; the son of Thor's wife Sif, by a 
former husband", — but a Rebus (of which we have other examples on our 
Old-English coins) for the name of the Moneyer, here boga, which means a 
Bowman, an Archer. 

Lastly we come to a class which in a sense should not be used here, 
as not being « sculptured or art-workt», but which in fact is the most im- 
portant of all, namely 


These pieces bearing no attribute, I refer to them, as rare, costly and 
interesting, but very shortly and without engravings: 

No. 1. A heathen stone, about 10th century, given in my 0. N. R. 
Mon. Vol. 2, p. 766. It is from Ostberga, Sodermanland, Sweden. It ends 
with the formula in sam- staves (tied or monogram runes): 


thonar roo (peace, repose) weet (show, give)! 
No. 2. A heathen stone, about 10th century, given by Prof. Thorsen 
in Aarboger for Nordisk Oldkyndighed, 8vo. Kjobenhavn 1870, p. 420, pi. 24. 
Is from Virring, North Jutland, Denmark. Ends with the formula: 

thu{no)r bless (consecrate, guard) these cumbels (grave -marks: the how, 
funeral block and standing stones)! 

No. 3. A damaged heathen stone, about 10th century, publisht by 
R. Dybeck, Sverikes Runurkunder, folio, No. 151. Is from Vesterby, Upland. 
Ends with the formula: 

*) In the Old-English epic of Beowulf, the monster Grendel also has his hond-SCIO or glof. 

tiiiinok ami ins EMBLEMS. 43 

W I'UR su ki(ii)|{(u)noak! 

an (but) rniiMhii SEE (Idess, guard) /h use- ken -(marking) h/.v/.s.' 

This SEE, as a formula of blessing, is kept on in the Christian period, 

and is found on Christian runic stones with invocations to God, Christ and the 

Saints. In Middle and even Modern English it is well known in the same 

meaning. See my remarks hereon in my 0. N. It. M. Vol. 2, p. 738 &c. It 

has continuously been used in this sense in Scandinavia. 

No. 4. A ctdossal heathen stone from the 9th century from Glaven- 

drup, Fyn, Denmark. See my 0. N. R. Mon. Vol. 2, p. 692. Ends with the 



tiii (nuik BLESS (consecrate, guard) these runes! 
No. 5. A golden Runic Bracteate from the 6th century. See my 
0. N. R. Mon. 2, 538, and Svenska Fornminnesforeningens Tidskrift. 8vo. Stock- 
holm 1875, p. 47 fol. Begins with the formula: 

pur te runoa! 
thu(no)r tee (help, bless) these- mines. 
The only other God I have hitherto found invoked on runic monu- 
ments is (w)oden. We have examples on one stone with the Old-Northern 
runes, one with the later or Scandinavian staves, and, perhaps, on one Golden 


But, as I think. I have lately found an example of this thu(no)r 
bless of a very singular character and in a very unexpected quarter. It is not 
indeed stampt or carved, it is only written on parchment, but it is so excep- 
tional that it may well challenge a place here. 

At p. 162, Vol. 1, of my 0. N. R. Mon. I mentioned a few runish 
transliterations (Latin words but Runic letters) and oddments and scribbles in 
manuscripts, on which I did not dwell. But I referred for particulars to John 
M. Kemble's excellent paper on «The Runes of the Anglo-Saxons »'), where 
they are engraved. 

>) Archaeologia. London 1840. Vol. 28, 4to. pp. 327—372. 


Several of those have since been handled by Prof. Dietrich of Mar- 
burg, but as I suppose without any result '). 

The longest and most tantalizing of these manuscript-runes is the row 
in the Codex Caligula A, XV in the British Museum, Cottonian Library. This 
4to skinbook is described by Wanley in his Catalogue p 233. It contains a 
number of Latin treatises, together with many pieces in Old-English, Religious, 
Computistic, Calendaric, Medical and Mixt. At the bottom of leaf 119 b and 
120 a (123 b and 124 a, new pagination) are 76 large and plain later or 
Scandinavian runes. This curious stave-line was communicated to Hickes by 
Wanley, and he engraved it in his Thesaurus 2 ). Thence it was copied by 
Tham 3 ), and by Kemble in his fig. IV. But neither of them has attempted 
an exact facsimile from Hickes, and both have made one mistake. In the word 
uigi they give the third stave as [f (thus uiki), instead of \ y (g), which Hickes 
plainly has. 

Wishing perfect exactness, I begged Edw. A. Bond, Esq., Keeper of 
the Mss. in the British Museum, our gifted English palseographist, to assist 
me, and he kindly came to my help in Nov. 1876. He explained that the 
codex is still in the Museum, and that the transcript publisht by Ilickes was 
quite correct. The section containing the runes was written, he says, before 
the year 1075, the year 1074 being the latest date entered. The length of the 
rune-lines was dictated by the breadth of the page. As many runes were 
written continuously in one line as one page could hold. Thus at the bottom 
of leaf 119 b we have 40 staves, ending with I>IK. This line is continued and 
concluded with 36 letters at the bottom of the next leaf, 120 a, beginning with 
I'ORSA. «The reading of the runes is quite correct throughout", Mr. Bond 
added. Thus our glorious Hickes is again found to be trustworthy. 

hi both Ilickes and Kemble and the original skinbook we have iukil, 
altered by Tham into kuril I agree with Dietrich that this is probably a 
mistake for KURIL, the name with which the inscription begins. It may indeed 
have been a colloquial or slurred softened form. Of such things we have many 
examples. But this «pet- pronunciation would scarcely have been adopted in 

l ) See his iDrei Altheidnische Segensformeloi in M. Baupt's ZiiHchrift fur deutsches Alter- 
thum, 13 band, Berlin 1866, pp. 193—197; and his nFiinf Northumbrische RuDen-sprucbea in 
the same magazine, pp. 104 — 123. 1 have a few words on these his eflbrts in my O. N. R. 
Mon. Vol. 2, pp. 890—2. 

*) Linguarum Vett. Sept. Thesaurus. Auc-t. G. Hickesiu. Oxonise 1705. Pars 3. Gram. lsl. PI. 
6. Folio. 

3 ) Anmarkningar i anledning af Herr Prof. Miillers Afhandling om Guldhornen. Af P. Tham. 
Stockholm 1817, 4to. 


the one line, and not in the other. It is therefore apparently a clerical slip 
of the copyist. Vox these mss. are often copied the one from the other, and 
Runic Alphabets and other scribbles we know were in the Bame way transcribed 
again and again, usually with ever-added barbarizi'ngs. Nothing would be easier 
for a later scribe than to pass over one short side-stroke, in a piece which 
he perhaps imperfectly understood 1 ). 

I cannot refer to any facsimile of this bookfell. It is one of those 
used by our lamented Mr. Cockayne in bis iLeechdoms, Wortcunning and 
Starcraft of Early England*, in which volumes so much quaint lore has been 
brought together. But he gives no plate of this codex. engraves the staves in 2 lines, as they stand. Kemble copied 
them in 3 lines, for convenience in his narrower page. To ensure perfect accu- 
racy. Mr. Bond obligingly procured me a full-size Autotype facsimile of both 
lines direct from the Ms. This has been photoxylographt by Hr. Kosenstand, 
and is as follows: 

FDRir WW tlWRW-rn rWrH Hfl) H\WI IN HK 

If we wish to translate this remarkable and sudden entry, in runes, 
in a codex containing Latin and Old- English texts, we must first carefully fix 
the value of the letters, their transliteration. Dietrich makes [\ sometimes U 
and sometimes Y; | sometimes A and sometimes E. This system, in one and 
the same line, is scientifically inadmissible. The Futhork (or runic alphabet) 
is plainly the later or Scandinavian, and must be treated as such. The writer 
had no stung T for D, and f therefore stands for both D and T. He has a 
stung K for G (f), and therefore \* is K and [ x is G. Otherwise the charac- 

') As of Runes so of Drawings copied and recopied in our ancient English Msg. In his excel- 
lent treatise on the famous Cotton Ms. Claudius C. VII, now in Dtrecht and called the Utrecht 
l'-alter, Mr. Walter de Gray Birch says (The History, Art and Paleography of the Manu- 
script styled the Dtrecht Psalter, 8vo. London 1»7G, p. 121), with regard to the Utrecht codex 
(of about the year A. D. 800): 

uFroni this interesting passage we are now cognizant of the fact that the Utrecht 
Psalter gave rise to at least four copies executed with more or less faithful adherence to 
its archetypal teaching, in the tenth, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries." 

In illustration, Mr, Birch gives one drawing from the original skinbook. with the corre- 
sponding plates from 2 of the later manuscripts, all in autotype. 


ters are as usual at this period; <f i A, j| is L\ ^ is 0. Taking things to be 
so, the runes give us: 


As far as I am aware, only 5 attempts have been made to read this 
difficult inscription. Two of these were by Tham, in his pamphlet on the 
Golden Horns (at p. 7 and again at p. 39); the 3rd was by M. F. Arendt 
(publisht ,by Tham as above, p. 38); the 4th by F. Magnusen in his Runamo, 
p. IJ04, 605: the 5th by Prof. Dietrich as afore said. 

Of late I have again and again directed my attention to these lines, 
and now believe that I have redd them. As is my wunt, I alter nothing, take 
the staves as they stand. I make them to be in an Old Danish dialect, and 
to give us a missive or message or note or report, transmitted by a heathen 
Dane in England to a friend, perhaps a kinsman, probably also in England. 
Pagan Danes and other Northmen swarmed in England in the 10th and 11th 
centuries. This runic message was doubtless at first cut on a little Cavel or 
tiny stick or tablet, and from this wooden flake it may have been copied on 
to parchment for family reasons. Of the Northmen many in the same family 
were pagans, others already Christians. They rapidly embraced Christianity, 
and a converted Scandinavian may have preserved this notice as being a docu- 
ment which in earlier days had announced the safety of a lady very nearly 
allied in blood or friendship. 

Runic alphabets &c. were often recopied for hundreds of years. This 
heathen telegram may be much earlier than the leaves on which it now stands. 
At all events, as Mr. Bond has shown, it cannot be later — but may be much 
older — than the year 1075. At this time, say in the last half of the 11th 
century, commotion was universal both in Scandinavia and England. All the 
British lies thro, pitcht battles and dreadful bickerings and accidents and inroads 
and murderous attacks were taking place. Many inquiries would be made as 
to the fate of individuals and families, and thousands of these carved 1 ) «bits of 

x ) Or written, but usually cut. Parchment and inkhorns were as yet a rarity everywhere, 
especially among the Northern freebooters. 

In Shakespear's Hamlet the young prince is sent to Britain with a letter, carried by 
his two comrades. But he re-writes the letter and saves his life. In the original Amleth 
legend of Saxo Grammaticus the two companions of Amleth carry a wooden rdne-cavel [«lite- 
ras ligno insculptas (nam id celebre quondam genus chartarum est)»]. But he cuts away 
some staves aud adds others, so that the letter now tells the British king to slay the mes- 
sengers and to give his daughter in marriage to Amleth. Saxonis Grammatici Hist. Danica. 
ed. Velschow, Vol. 1, Lib. 3, p. 145. 


news" would be sent l>\ trusty bands. Often this would be bj ■ underground 
railway*, which has fiourisht in every age. We have many notices in the 
Sagas and elsewhere, from the earliest times down to the middle-age, of these 
letter-slips and other runic wooden notifications and annals and poems. In tin- 
shape of parchment and paper they continued, here and there in Scandinavia, 
down to the Kith century. But nearly all these wooden rune-cavels, which 
have existed by tens of thousands, have naturally disappeared. 

We know the extreme difficulty, at times, of translating inscriptions 
which are not divided into words. This especially in a period which had little 
of a conventional book-language, hut naturally used many and mixt dialects of 
which we know so little, and as to which we must allow ourselves a certain 
latitude both as to spelling and form, sometimes even as to words. For cer- 
tain words may have existed in localities and talks from which, from mere 
paucity of material, we have pronounced them absent. 

And in a writing of this kind, very many combinations of letters 
may be made, giving a meaning more or less possible or probable. 

In the face of all this, the following attempt may not have succeeded. 
All 1 can claim for it is, that it is simple and natural and reasonable and « gram- 
matical!), and fits in with the movements of "the Wiking period", which lasted 
longer than is generally supposed. If the runes are not an idle scribble, they 
must have been meant to say something intelligible, and we know so much of the 
comparatively late dialects of the 10th and 11th centuries, that we ought not 
to be quite helpless. Should my reading be rejected, some other student may 
be more fortunate. 

The tiny rune-tane* which may have been hidden in the hair of the 
carrier, in my opinion said : 





Kuril sored (wounded) was on her-FERD (journey, passage, expedition). 


May-THUR win (bless) thee, he-the-THiRSES' (giants ') dreeten (lord, ruler, smiter).' 
(Kjuril sored (hurt) was on (at) the-wiTHER-REDES (debates, consultations, par- 
leyings) on (at) ware. 

Thus the Lady KURIL was long expected in vain, never arrived. En- 
quiries were set on foot by her friends, and she was found at Stow, whither 


she had escaped. She explained that she had been in danger of her life, having 
been attaekt and wounded at Ware. 

Then the affectionate greeting to the sorrowing father or husband or 
friend: — May Thttr, the giant-tamer, bless and comfort thee! 

Further thoughts suggest a "postscript", of additional detail. The 
debates between the Wikings and the English, or between two Wiking-bands, 
at Ware, where a formal parley was held, ended in violence, and even the Lady 
kuril was not spared. 

I make kuril a female name because it must be so. It is clearly in 
apposition with sard and fuxdix, and both these words are in the nom. sing. 
fem. But I have never seen this name before. It may be a diminutive of KUR, 
a worn kurila. or a slurred popular or pet form for kukhildr, both of them 
unknown to me. There was a Gothic king corillus. 

sari> is a « correct-) Old- Danish and Old-Swedish participle, nom. sing. 
fem., (masc. sari>er, fem. sarp, neut. sart). 

Uar is common, for the earlier UAS. 

a common, for the earlier ax or ox. 

fari>u, dat. sing. fem. Doubtless Old-Danish. The nom. sing, is in 
O.Swedish FjERS, N. Icel. ferb, O.Engl, ferd, fyrd, 0. Kris ferd. But the M. 
Goth. farpo, Ohg. fart and 0. Sax. fard have preserved the older unweakened 
vowel. All are feminine. 

xu, common in all our dialects, xow. 

fuxdix, p. part. n. s. fem. found. 

i. common, for the older IN. 

STU. I cannot prove that this is a place-jiame. But if we really have 
STU between I, the end of one section, and PUR, the beginning of another, I 
cannot see what else it can possibly be. In England and up thro the old 
Northumbria we have several places called stow, spelt in 0. E. stou and stow, 
and Latinized stoua and stowa. The most famous is stow or stow-market in 
the Hundred of Stow in Suffolk. It is on the river Gipping, a tributary of 
the Orwell, between Ipswich and Bury. It is quite near the sea at Ipswich 
and Harwich, and is not very far from London. 

pur, the heathen god i>uxor, pur, k>r, followed by the verb uiga. 
This verb, so common in Scandinavia, has not yet been found in 0. Engl., tho 
we had the noun and endless compounds. Here it is in the 3 s. pr. subj. 
The whole phrase, PUR uigi, may Thur bless, we have already seen on two 
Danish heathen runic stones. But we have here — for the first time in all 

THE danism CAVEl in ENGLAND. 49 

the North, on stone or parchment, in runes or Roman letters — the doubtless 
once common phrase, KTR uici mk, may Thur bless thee! 

dorsa, gen. pi. masc. Of the THUBSES, ettins, giants, goblins, mon- 
sters, helpless and fools tho so burly and big. This is the N. reel: DDES, DOBS, 
I'OSS, the provincial Norse TUSSE, TUSS, the provincial Danish TOS8E, ths provin- 
cial Swedish tusse, tuss, tasse, tass. In 0. Engl, we have dyes, in Early E. 
DUES, in Mid. E. THUBS, MRS, DBISSE, in provincial Engl, thurs. THBUSE, THY] 
thrust, and a rock-den or stone-shelter is called a thurse- house. In OIil:. 
there was durs and TUBS. — I have never before seen this fine epithet, doubt- 
less once widely used, corsa drutin. 

drutin, obsolete in Denmark, the 0. Swedish drotin, DBOTEN, N. Icel. 

uh>-rai>r. ac. pi. fern., a compound hitherto found onlv in the Norse- 
Icelandic vid-RjEda, fern., talk, conversation, parley. 

a uari, on. at, WABE. Analogy would seem to show that this also is 
a place-name. But again I cannot prove it. Should it be so, again there were 
several spots called ware in olden days. We should expect that the one here 
referred to would be in the same county as stow And accordingly in Domes- 
day Book 1 ) we have in Suffolk, in the neighborhood of Bungay and Flixton. 
Hundred of Waneforda, a place in wari. With his usual kindness Mr. Bond, 
Keeper of the Mss. in the British Museum, has referred to the Ordnance Sur- 
vey for me. But there is no ware there, and he suspects it may have gotten 
a later appellation, and be the spot now known as Eartham near Bungay. 
Should this be not a stead-name, it can only be a word answering to the N. I. 
vorr (older form var, gen. varar) fern, and masc, and VEB, neut.. 0. E, v i K, 
Engl, ware, weir, a haven, station, fishing-place. The general meaning will be 
the same, but it will not be so sharp and clear as in the former case, which 
I therefore prefer. 

Till a better can be found, I therefore hold fast the interpretation 
here offered. Should it be substantially correct, it puts into our hands the 
earliest bit — by about 225 years — of parchment Danish yet known to us. 
And not only so, it is about 125 years older than any such fragment in Norse- 
Icelandic, a couple of whose vellums are the most antique left to us in any 
Scandinavian tung. 

This is also the first thu(no)r invocation yet found on vellum. 

l ) Vol. 2, fol. London 1783 p. 380, col. 2. 



The only specimen of the inscribed llunic cavel or wooden letter-slip 
hitherto made public, is that figured in 01. Worm's Monumenta Danica. Hafnise 
1643, folio, p. 299. He styles it a «Virgula Erotica» or Twig-loveletter. It 
was sent him in 1632 by the Rev. Christian Hansen Riber, the Bishop of 
Alborg in Jutland, to whom it had been given by Hr. Otto Scheel, Governor 
of Alborghus. The Bishop's letter is in Worm's Epistola, 1, 43, and he there 
states that «singulare hoc monumentum» was found about the year 1600 by a 
schoolboy or student («scholasticus» ) in a field near Viborg («in agro Vibur- 
gensi») in Jutland, as was testified by the Rector of the School, Herr Vilhad. 
The runes, he says, were small but very neatly cut (« accurate incisae»). Worm 
adds that this 4-sided cavel was apparently made of the wood of the Sloe-tree 
or Black- thorn, and was about 3 inches long and 1 -third of an inch broad each 
way. He fortunately appended an exact facsimile, full size, which I here repeat: 

Worm's translation, the only one I have ever seen, is: 


ciNomen meum uovit amicissima mea. Ex amoris hac tessera landum.» 

This will be in English: my sweetheart has found my name, from this 


What became of this curiosity at Worm's death, has never been dis- 
covered. Probably it has long since perisht, like some other things he is known 
to have had. 

This piece seems to me not very old, perhaps from the 14th cen- 
tury, and to be in Old-Norse. 

The first bind or rune-group I would read as bii>at, beginning with 
the B, taking I from the stem as usual, then i> on the right followed by a on 
the left, and ending with T at the top. This word, if rightly redd, will be very 


appropriate here. It is Old-Norse in form. mi', hid?, unit, ami the negative 
affix at, not. Thus bide not. come away, join me at once at we had agreed, keep 
your appointment, meet me at Ike trysting-place. 

The second monogram or rune-cluster, before landum, is, I think, 
Bl ml; B first, then u on the left, i> on the right, i on the .stem, and l on the 
top left 1 ). 

Worm made no effort to unravel eithei of these runic binds. Chang- 
ing nothing, taking the letters as they stand, they seem to be: 

HI/ AT. BUNAFN PET i-.sta M.KNK AF l'KNKKSToi. KSM, UVpIl -I. wmjm. 

i' at this time was continually used for simple i>. 

BU-NAFN, ac. S. n. BY-NAME, village-name 

ukt, 3 s. pr. wots, knows. 

k.kkk.ksta, 11. 8; f. 'let', the most beloved. 

MINK, g pi. of MAN. neut.; person, woman. 

af, prep, of, from. 

1'i.NKKSToi,, d. s. m. a think- stool, thought-base. As in English STOL 
is < 'hair and also heap, duster, so in N. 1. skifa-stoki, is a ship-stool boat- 
crowd, fleet. In some Danish plant-names, STOL is used in the same way. So 
MALDRT-STOL means a bushy Wormwood plant. In either sense H NKK-STOL 
mean s thought-bearer. 

jENM:, orthodox N. I. form END A. 

boml-landum, d. pi. ii. There is a bodil in Horning Parish, Skander- 
borg Amt, Jutland, and in other places in Denmark. There may have been other-. 

On the whole the meaning of this message, apparently written by a 
Norwegian settler or traveler in Jutland, was: 

hide-not (delay not, come at once). The-BY-NAME (homestead, moot-place) 
wots (knows) the-DEARESTof-ivoMENOF(from, bg) this-TBOUGHT-STOOL (word -beam, 
wooden nine-slip) and (as also) the-BODiL-LANDS. 

= Come quickly. You will know, deares'.' our meeting-place from this 
message and the district whence it comes. 

A message of this kind, which might fall into strange or unfriendly 
hands, was not to be too plain and straightforward. 

At all events, however we translate it, we have here a rune-cavel 
bearing 53 staves. 

*) The choice of those words (for instance as beginning with B and b, which may have been 
some little mystery) may have been intentional, to convince the receiver that all was right, 
tho no other could understand the reference. 




All this brought to my mind that in a quick run thro the British 
Museum, many years ago, my learned friend Aug. W. Franks, Esq. obligingly 
pointed out to me a piece of this kind. I now thought it might possibly be 
the missing Worm Cavel. Thanks to the kind assistance of Mr. Bond and Mr. 
Franks, I am now able to say that it is not Worms, and that it is an English 
Cavel. I here give the exact rubbing of the original, full size, furnisht me by 
those gentlemen, photoxylographt by Herr Ro.senst.ind: 1 ) 



M~*+ ^ryi^fj^rj-- 


It is of a dark-brown hard wood, and was once in the Museum of 
•Sir Hans Sloane. In the old Catalogue it is entered as dSloane 90. A Runic 
almanac small?" This is all that is known of its history. Probably it was 
given to Sir Hans Sloane bv some friend about 1740 — 50. Mr. Franks is not 
aware that it has ever been copied or described or redd. 

Before we proceed to handle it, we must make a remark or two. 

1. We see at once, from its general character, that it is not very 
old, and must transliterate the marks accordingly. For in the last runic period, 
both on hard substances and on parchment or paper, there was a great free- 
dom and variation of type, and an evident hankering for and feeling after a 
kind of cursive and running and easier hand. Thus here we have 2 variants of 
the c, 2 of the e, 2 or 3 of the L, 2 of the N, 2 of the R, 2 or 3 of the t 

') I sent Mr. Bond a copy of the woodcut for final correction, if needed. His answer was: 
«The engraved copy is quite correct.! 


and ii, and a couple of the v. — Among other peculiarities is the • short • type 
for G, (D), which is in fact only half of the figure. 

2. There is a hind or rune-cluster here also, and for the same reason, 
greater secrecy. It is in the name, oldr, o on the left, L on the top right, 
D on the right lower down, all followed close by R. 

3. thomas was often spelt with a th (i>) in older days. And here 
also it is i>um for tum, tdmmas, tom, &c. 

4. The alphabet is prevailingly the later or Scandinavian, but it is 
freely mixt with the older or Old-Northern, so that it may be called transitional. 

5. The last figure in the last line is a kind of flourish, and is equi- 
valent to an end-mark or full stop. 

Let us now take the letters quite simply as they stand, line for line: 

"/"/(, QUIC NU, GJ5T 

This is all very amusing. It is a little love-scroll, a rendezvous de- 
manded by pretty mary of Newcastle of her betrothed tom older 1 ). It is in 
English of the 13th century, but North-English, and with distinct Wiking- 
Scandinavian peculiarities. The EC and af are Danish or Norse still left in the 
local talk. But all this agrees admirably with the place named — the then 
strongly Danish district round about Newcastle and the Principality of Durham. 

In modern times, after the lapse of a few hundred years, out of 
millions of Paper letters only a few hundreds have survived. There were tens 
of thousands of these little wooden or Runic missives in olden days. \\ e 
have here, if I am not mistaken, a copy of one of these in the 11th century, 
a woodcut of a second in the 17th century, and one unique original at this 
moment in the British Museum. 

') As we know, there is nothing new under the sun, and we have Love-ring-. Love seals and 
Love-gems by thousands, from all lands and times. One of these is an exact counterpart to 
the above. It is a six-angled Classical Gem, a Dove in the center, and round it: 


Doubtless such a message would not be refused. See it engraved and explained in Fr. 
Ficoronii Gemmae Autiquae Litteratae, a P. N. Galeotti. 4to, Romae 1757, p 5, Tab. 1, No. 14. 



Now all the above representations or invocations of Tbn(no)r or his 
Attributes are stampt or carved on stone, or some metal. The usual written 
sources which speak of him or other gods do not concern us here. But 1 
desire to make one exception. I think I have found an unsuspected mention 
of this Warrior against Evil in our own land, in England, so far back as shortly 
after the year 700. 

This is in our magnificent Dano- Anglic epic Beowulf, a heathen Saga 
told by a Christian English scald early in the Sth century, but in its present 
shape found only in one Ms. of the 10th year-hundred. 

The reason why this instance has been overlookt is, because it is 
exprest indirectly, in a "kenning" or poetical epithet or substitute. And the 
reason how so noble and picturesque a passage could be so misunderstood is, 
because we live in a wooden one-sided narrow-minded school of « phonology 
and mechanical philology, which has done more harm than good, and has merci- 
lessly tampered with precious olden texts. Everything had to be reduced to 
system and theory, and the manuscripts have been corrupted and « corrected » 
accordingly, obliterating endless valuable fragments and traces of older words 
or word-forms and floating dialects. New letter-types (unknown to the Mss.) 
are invented and thrust down our throats, aud accents are introduced wholesale, 
with a pragmatical infallible contempt of what stands, and of everything and 
everybody save the editor's last hobby or the shibboleth of the last "phono- 
logical" Pope or Anti-Pope. 

Words, whether or not originally one, have sometimes obtained double 
meanings, now distinguisht by the accent. Therefore, the moment we — the 
editor, publisher — add the accent in the printed book, we fix for ever the 
meaning of the word! 

So here in Beowulf. The term in question is 

as it is written in the skinbook; and so it was honestly printed by its first 
editor, Thorkelin, and its second, Kemble. But Kemble unhappily translated 
«gast-bona» «spirit-slayer», and in his Glossary «Diabolus». So Thorpe, fol- 
lowing suit, printed the word in his text «gast-bona» and translated » spirit- 

iiiiaui: in BEOWULF. 55 

slayor». Then came the rush. Grein, 'gast-bona'; Grundtvig, 'gast-bona'; Reyne, 
'gastbona'; Arnold, 'gast-bona', and so forth. 

Rut let us now examine the passage itself. Early in Beowulf, when 
the scop describes the murderous visit of the water-monster Grendel to Heort 
(Heorot), the splendid throne-hall built by rlrothgar, we see that Grendel first 
seizes and carries off .'io of the king's thanes, and then makes fresh ravages 
till the palace is empty and abandoned during a space of 12 years. The royal 
Chief and his Elders consulted long and well what to do: 

Sometimes sought thej 
idol sanctuaries, 
worship-gifts vowing. 
Wail-prayers they utter'd 
where <doom'd the Gast-smiter, 
for his God-help quickly 
gainst sorrows sorest. 
Such their wunt was, 
heathens so hoped. 

What is the original text of this passage? We shall find it only in 
the first edition: «De Danorum Gestis. Ed. Gr. J. Thorkelin. Havnise 1815», 
4to p. 15,16; (Line 348—356 in Kemble, Vol. 1: 1. 352 — 360 in Thorpe; 
348 — 356 in Grundtvig; 175 — 179 in Grein, Heyne and Arnold): 

At-times they vowed 

Hwilum hie ge-heton, 
set hrserg-trafum, 
Wordum bsedon 
pset him gast-bona 
geoce gefremede 
wip peop-preaum. 
Swylc wses peaw hyra, 
hedenra hyht. 

at altar-enclosures 
ivorshipful gifts. 
With-many-ivords ihey-bmh 
that to-them the-Gast-sntiter 
help ivould-give 
aqainzt such -folk-anguish . 
Such was manner their, 
of-those-heatheux I lie-hope. 

It is not necessary to enter here into the vext question of the ety- 
mology of GAST, GHOST and GUEST, the curious way in which they have often 
past into each other both in form and meaning in different dialects, and the 
attempts to discriminate them by a long or a short vowel and other resources, 
but all of which have failed — from the endless caprice of the folk-talks. 
Generally, we are told that GAST (man) lias a short vowel, gast (ghost) a long 


vowel, g.kst (guest) a short vowel. Accordingly, the editors having fancied that 
gast meant a ghost altered it to gast, and a ghost it remains. 

But nothing is more certain than that the word gast or GJiST is con- 
tinually found in our older Scando-Gothic dialects, particularly the Northern, 
for man, hero, enemy, wild fellow, monster, ettin, giant, vagabond, dare-devil and 
the like. This meaning still remains in our dialects, and in Scandinavia a sea- 
dog, sailor, is still a (sS-)gast. 

Accordingly this gast, g^est is very frequently used in Old-English 
not only for man, but also for foul and fierce man, giant, monster, as it is in 
Early and Middle English, tho so often mistranslated spirit, and this is the 
meaning here in Beowulf 1 ). 

It is therefore simply absurd to translate gast-bona by spirit-slayer or 
anything such. There is no question of any spirit, still less of any devil. The 
heathen Danes, says the poet, in their despair, crowded to the idol-temples 
and promist gifts and prayed to their God 

the giant-slayer 
to help them in their terrible need against a giant, a monster, a savage ettin. 
Who was that deity of our forefathers who was the bane of the gasts? All 
the Northlands, from the Eddas to Jack- the- Giantkiller, answer with one voice:' 
thc(no)r! This vinr verlida' (friend of men), this 'sonr Odins' (son of (W)oden), 
this 'bar mi Baldrs' (Baldor's brother), 'raflbani burs' (by-rede bane of the thurse, 
death-plotter against the giants), 'dolgr jotna' (death-giver to ettins, giants' 
death-wound giver, giant-slayer) and so on in dozens of such kennings 2 ), is 
verily known unto all men. 

*) Years after I had convinced myself what this kenning really signified, 1 came across I.. Ett- 
miiller's first German version (Zurich 1840). At p. 73 he gives the line in question 

odass der Geisttilger ihnen helfe wider den Weltschreck». 
He adds in a note: nWelcher der ohern Gottcr ist gemeint? doch warscheinlieh Thunar (Thdrr), 
der Urfeind des Riesengeschlechtes.n As far as I know, he stands alone in this. All have: 
• Kemble, «the spirit-slayers ; Thorpe, "the devil, the soul-slayem ; Grein, oder Geistestodtern 
(and in his Dictionary — altering the plain bona to bana — why not? He has not altered 
every word in every line, as some Germans in their Ms. editions — animi destructor, diabolus) ; 
Heyne, «den Vernichter aller Geistem ; Arnold, cthe destroying spirit n ; and so on. Only 
Wackerbarth, in his English poetical version (London 1849) has «the Spirit-Slayer* , and in 
a note p. 128,» i. e. Odin.n 

2 ) B. Groudal, in his excellent oClavis Poetica Antiques Linguae Septentrionalis » , 8vo. Hafniae 
1864, has nearly 40 of these kennings for Thu(no)r. See his p. 269. 



In a time like this, of — isms endless, the one more damnable, 
ignoble, driveling or doltish than the other; — of foulness, fetishism or frantic 
blasphemy, flaunting paper crowns overscrawled « infallible ■ and uhigh science n; 
— of (i rings » and riots, blacklegs and bribers, falseness and fraud, adulteration 
and adulteiy, capitalism and club-law; — of softness, sentiment, sophism, 
weakness and wilfulness, pendriving and paradox; — of morbid materialism, 
luxury run mad, license unbounded, a literature most leprous; — law the while 
become lawlessness, a slow and costly sham and swindle, a cobweb wide open 
for wasps ami dragon flics and catching only silly gnats, a comedy contemp- 
tible as it is costly, — « Punishment" now smothered in maundering "Philan- 
thropy", crime (even Rape, Murder, Burnings) REWARDED with pensions in pa- 
laces built with the sweat and tearful savings of the toiling non-criminal 
million; — of Blood-and-Iron» and Bankruptcy; — « Examinations' and hot- 
house "Education", in other words Cant and Cram and an unbearably arrogant 
hut in real life worthless «Little-of-everythingn (palsying the limbs and blearing 
the eyes of our daily feebler youth), these now the only Ten Commandments, 
the only « Religion of the Future" of States called Christian; — at such a 
moment thunor, our great ancestral Symbol-god, should never leave us. Not 
only is he the mighty in head, hand, heart; his whole being, his life and death, 
is Self-sacrifice for the good, the right, and against the bad, the wrong. 

We have found him here in Beowulf, invoked to help the suffering 
people against the monster UN- law. We have seen him or his emblems or 
name on the funeral stones of the dead, that they might sleep in peace under 
his watchful eye. We have him or his Mace on Jewels many, Amulets of 
Beauty and Benison, a charm against every terror. Nay, he stands on the 
Holy Font itself, perpetually preaching that the Christian Soldier should FIGHT 
at least as BRAVELY against Baseness as ever did the Hammer-wielder. 

thunor, speaking alway of strength, work, duty, truth, honor bright, 
lie is truly the »Land-ass», the Land-Ans, the Guardian Genie of the Father- 
land; the «Otti Jotna.", the dread of every Bug and Ogre: the «Bani troll- 


quenna*, the relentless slayer of Troll and Hag an<l Witch-quean, whether 
tripping winsome in gnisc of Light-angel fair, or stiffly striding with scowling 
fire-red balls and matted snake-hair, her crooked fingers grasping the torch and 
dagger of destruction and despair. 

God help that Heart, that Home, that Land, that Age where 


[Accidentally omitted Xotr to Cartouche 8, p. 25. — So conventional is the carving, 
that in fact there is no Cross at all, only the Board (suppedaneum) on which the feet rested. 

[Accidental! 1/ omitted Note to the Valleberga stone, p. 31, 32. — On the great mosaic 
of St. Apollinaris in Classe, near Ravenna (A. D. 545) — subject, the Transfiguration — is 
a Cross nearly Maltese in form, at whose intersection we see a Face of Our Lord. This is 
the earliest known approach to a Crucifix. On the Oil-vessels of Monza (6th century) is 
the Head (nearly a bust) of Christ, above a small Cross.] 



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